Behave yourself into trust – Covey’s Suggested Behaviours Part 2

In this post, we continue with a brief overview of Stephen M. R. Covey’s 13 trust building behaviours.  Again these are a very brief summary of those explained in Covey’s book, The Speed Of Trust – The One Thing that Changes Everything (2006).  All to often we talk about the need to build connections and Covey offers concrete strategies that you can implement to increase trust.  Like he said you can’t buy your way out of something you behaved yourself into, but you can behave yourself back into a trusting relationship.

Let’s pick up with #8.

8.  Confront Reality (p. 185- 191)
– What’s the cost of not addressing the elephant in the room?  Covey (2006) asked if you’ve ever been part of the meeting after or before the actual meeting?  What could you accomplish if you addressed what he called the “undiscussables?” (p. 185).  As uncomfortable as it may be to face the issues head on, it will in the long run create stronger relationships.

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9. Clarify Expectations (p. 192-199)
– This one will cost you the most if you don’t deal with it up front.  It means that we all need to be on the same page.  We need a shared vision (p.193).  Make the time with your team and your family to clarify what you expect and the standard to which you expect it to be done. How many times, for example, have you asked a family member to do something?  Clean your room…. only to find out it’s not done the way you wanted it or to the same standard….perhaps the results really say more about my instructions than the results say about my daughter’s attempt to clean her room.  She’s 7.  We have different standards of what it means to clean your room.  I really need to work on clarifying my expectations in a pro-active rather reactive way.

– Educators often talk about the importance of before, during and after strategies.  If people aren’t producing a product your are happy with, it may not be because they are purposefully choosing to do poorly.  They may simply have not spent enough time in the before stage.  Clarifying expectations and knowing where you are going before you start is important in ensuring that everyone successfully ends up at the same end point.  Plus it saves time and money.

10.  Practice Accountability (p. 200-207)
– Covey (2006) reminded that there are two key parts.  First, you must hold yourself accountable.  Using Jim Collin’s metaphor, Covey explained that we must close the window and look in the mirror. As a leader, you are part of the success and the failure.  Second, you will have to hold others accountable. If you don’t, other members of the team will become frustrated (p. 204).  What this means is that you must have clear expectations and have provided feedback, so that you can have a conversation about being accountable.

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Pixabay – Clker-Free-Vector-Images

11.  Listen first (p. 208-214)
– Are you really listening?  Are you actively seeking to understand a different perspective before you add your response?  Or are you just waiting and thinking about your reply while the other person is talking?  (p. 209).
– Through a number of challenging personal experiences including a health scare of my own, I’ve been reminded several times that life is all about perspective.  Our experiences shape our stories and impact how we see those around us.  We all have insights to offer based on our life experiences.  Learning to listen … to truly actively listen, will open up a new world of perspective, insight and innovation.

  • Covey offered these key insights:
    • You have to actively listen with your whole body and your brain.  When people feel that they are heard, you they become more willing to listen to your ideas. (FYI, your body language tells people if you are listening or not)
    • Listen before your make up your mind.  If you don’t it will show in how you listen.
    • Listen to understand what matters most to your people, you don’t know everything (and just because you are a leader doesn’t mean that you do need to know everything.  Some of the best leaders I’ve worked for simply said that’s a great question let’s figure it out together.)
    • Remember once you’ve listened others, you also have to listen to yourself.
      (p. 212-214)

Cloud (2013) noted listening as the “glue that makes of the rest of this work” (Boundaries for Leaders, p. 97).  Nothing replaces active listening, “people’s deepest need is to be know and understood before they can join someone or be led by them.  They want to know that you get it” (p. 96).

Lastly, Covey (2006) included one of Peter Drucker’s Eight Practices of Effective Executives.

Listen first, speak last.

(Speed of Trust, p. 210)
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Pixabay – kimheimbuch0

12. Keep Commitments (p. 215-221)
– Covey explained that this is the “Big Kahuna” of behaviors.  The quickest way to build trust or lose it. Roger Merrill explained, “when you make a commitment, you build hope; when you keep it, you build trust” (The Speed of Trust, 2006, p. 215).
–  Building trust is simple.  Think carefully about the commitments you make, keep them and repeat the behavior.  Nothing builds trust faster than following through on what you say you will do (p. 221).

Covey also included a poignant reminder, “family members are often the most important commitments of all” (p.220).  I’m thankful to be surrounded by role models that don’t hesitate to remind me of the ne

13. Extend Trust (p. 222-229)
– Covey explained that this behaviour is different.  Now you actually have to extend trust to others (p. 223).  He advised us not to be foolish in how we trust others but to extend a smart trust based on the situation and the people involved (p. 229). Trust in the end will take you farther.

So how do you build connections within your team?

Have you created a culture where people choose to go above and beyond because they know you value what they do and trust them to make it happen?

It’s always a work in progress. Learning how to be a leader is never done.  What matters is that each day you have an opportunity to practice and build better connections.  As Talley Goodson said at the Color By Amber Summit 2016 conference,

“the only competition you truly have is the person looking back at you in the mirror.”


 Resources Referenced:

Covey’s Recommended Trust Building Behaviours – Part 1

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Pixabay – Geralt

In The Speed of Trust The One Thing That Changes Everything, Stephen M. R. Covey (2006) shared 13 behavioural strategies to increase trust dividends because your behavior will either increase or decrease your connections.  Here’s the very brief descriptions of the 13 key behaviours with my perspective added in.  For a more detailed explanation of the behaviours I highly recommend reading or listening to The Speed of Trust.

Why take the time to review these behaviours?  There’s lots of theories on how to be a good leader, but there isn’t always specific, tangible examples of how to grow as a leader.  Covey’s 13 behaviors offered specific examples that you can practice to become a more trusted leader. I’ve noted the pages in the Speed of Trust that apply to each section, so you can choose to dig into those that matter most to you.

  1. Talk Straight (p. 127-143)
    – Just like it sounds.  “Be honest. Tell the truth” (p. 143). Covey (2006) recommended getting to your point as quickly as possible using simple language. “Recognize that in most cases, “less” is “more.”  In the legal world vernacular, ‘If you’re explaining you’re losing.'” (p. 142).  It’s not always easy and as with most things it will take practice, but do your best to be straightforward in a respectful way.

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    Pixabay – Maiconfz

    – In part one of our series on building connections, we referenced the significance of a shared language.  Shared language and codes enable people to access and share information with other people.  Without a common understanding of the language, communication falters and connections are lost (Daniel, Schwier & McCalla, 2003, p. 6).

  2. Demonstrate Respect (p. 144-151)
    – It shows in your interactions with everyone from your superiors to your cleaning staff.  Be genuine and treat others with dignity.  Kindness is in the little things. Try to do or say something each day that makes someone else smile (p. 150-151).  It’s evident in nonverbal communication, so make sure it shows in a genuine way.
  3. Create Transparency (p. 152-157)
    – It’s a balancing act.  Not all that you know needs or should be shared because people have trusted you with that information, but on the other hand does failing to share information make it seem like you have something to hide?  Covey (2006) suggested being open and authentic.  A what you see is what you get demeanor (p. 157).
  4. Right Wrongs (p. 158-164)
    – Covey asked a simple yet telling question, when you make a mistake how do you respond?
    – Do you own it and take responsibility for it and attempt to make it right by apologizing and making restitution?
    –  Or do you try to rationalize, down play or deny it? (p.160 & 164).Who do you want to be associated with?
    We’re not perfect all the time so make a choice to do better next time and behave yourself into the trust dividends rather than paying higher trust taxes (p. 160).
  5. Show Loyalty (p. 165-171)
    – How you talk about other people when they aren’t there says more about you.  As Stephen R. Covey said, “To retain those who are present, be loyal to those who are absent” (p. 169).
    – Another point that resonated with me is give credit where credit is due.  Acknowledge the contributions of your team members, as Robert Townsend said, “A leaders doesn’t need any credit . . . He’s getting more credit than he deserves anyway” (p. 165).  Your team, your followers are what is going to make the goal possible.  Value what they do and they will do more for you.
  6. Deliver Results (p. 172 – 176)
    – Results build credibility. “It’s how you establish trust…it’s how you gain flexibility and choices . . . it’s how you can restore trust quickly” (p. 174).  Show that you can do what you say and your credibility will grow.
    – Something I’ve seen happen in both education and business is as Covey explained if you over promise and under deliver you’ll make a withdrawal in the trust account every time (p. 176).  It’s so frustrating when people don’t do what they say.  I can’t build a business on what you might do.  Always under promise and over delivery.
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Pixabay – johnhain

7. Get Better (p. 177-184)
– This was a behaviour that hits close to home for me.  As a grad student and new entrepreneur, the last two years of my life have been about getting better.  I’m an avid learner.  I love learning.  It’s energizing.   Yet the ongoing challenge is how do you take what you’ve learned and step out of your comfort zone.

How do you actually make a change?

This independent study on leadership has enabled me to study a topic I’ve always found interesting, but the challenge is to create a product that will be of value to someone other than me.  And so I’ve struggled with how to share what I’ve learned in a way that won’t overwhelm, yet will make sense others.

– Covey opened this section with one of my all time favourite quotations:toffler

Life is about learning and Covey reminded that continuous improvement builds trust and confidence (p. 178). He also shared John Gardner’s comment, “One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.” And to that I would add the reason people stop taking those risks is a double edged sword. For one, it’s easy to stick with what you know.  It’s comfortable and, lets be honest, it means I’m less likely to get hurt or fail publicly.

Second, in what climate or culture am I working?  If I’m constantly afraid of what might happen to me if I fail, I’m certainly not going to risk doing something different. In fact, as Sinek  (2014) and Cloud (2013) reminded us, our brain chemistry is going to take over to ensure our survival.  Fear, however, is another blog post.

Covey explained there are two ways to get better at getting better. First, it’s being confident enough to ask for feedback.  That’s not always easy and sometimes feedback says more about the person giving it than you; however, listening to it gives you ways to get better.  Plus, “what differentiates the best from the good companies is not whether they ask the questions, it’s how they respond to the answers” (p. 181). We all like to be heard, but if nothing every happens…. were you really listening in the first place?

Second, Covey (2006) noted we must learn from our mistakes.  First, we have to be brave enough to risk a mistake because without trying we will never get better. He said, we do what’s comfortable because we are afraid to fail or we just want to look good.

Dee Hock, Founder and Former CEO, Visa International said:

“You learn nothing from your successes except to think too much of yourself.  It is from failure that all growth comes, provided you can recognize it, admit it, learn from it, rise above it, and then try again.” p. 182

Here’s something you could try….

Covey (2006) suggested a Continue/Stop/Start feedback system...

Simply ask:

  1. What is one thing we are now doing that you think we should continue doing?
  2. What is one thing we are now doing that you think we should stop doing?
  3. What is one thing we are not now doing that you think we should start doing?
    (p. 183)

How are you getting better?

Curious about the rest of Covey’s Strategies – Check out Part 2.


 Resources Referenced:

 

Does trust matter?

A Review of
The Speed of Trust The One Thing that Changes Everything
By: Stephen M. R. Covey
with Rebecca R. Merril


book captureThanks to the Entre Leadership podcasts I was introduced to the value of The Speed of Trust and as Stephen M. R. Covey says it really is the one thing that changes everything.  Though not directly mentioned in many leadership theories, it underlies the strength and willingness of your supporters to follow you and produce continuing results.  Covey concluded, “I have come to this simple definition of leadership: Leadership is getting results in a way that inspires trust” (p. 40).

Based on personal experience and noted references, Covey takes on the idea that trust is a soft, immeasurable skill with detailed explanations of why it’s really the one skill that affects everyone and everything.  From individual to group to organization and to society as a whole, the levels
(Screenshot from Amazon)

of trust we have for each other impact our daily interactions.  Covey noted that whether you are leading a group of people or just yourself trust makes a difference.  He proceeded in detail to explain the four cores of credibility which include integrity (character), intent (character), capabilities (competency) and results (competency).  Integrity comes from the combination of honesty, congruency, humility and courage and our behaviour lets people know where we are at. Intent, why we do what we do shapes our agenda.  This too leaks through in our actions.

Covey explained our talents, attitude, skills, knowledge and style (TASKS) make up our capabilities (p.94). The fourth core competency is results.  People are going to make decisions about you based on your past, present and potential results.  What I appreciate most is that for each aspect Covey presented, he offered concrete ways for you to improve trust.  As he mentioned over and over: if trust goes down, then speed goes down and costs go up. When trust goes up, speed goes up and costs go down.  He reminded the reader that costs may be financial but they can also be measured in human relationships.

Covey compared trust to a bank account.  You can’t just make ongoing withdrawals you have to make trust deposits and he outlined 13 specific behaviours that you can follow to grow your trust account.  These included:

  1. Talk Straight
  2. Demonstrate Respect
  3. Create Transparency
  4. Right Wrongs
  5. Show Loyalty
  6. Deliver Results
  7. Get Better
  8. Confront Reality
  9. Clarify Expectations
  10. Practice Accountability
  11. Listen First
  12. Keep Commitments ***
    Covey called this the big Kahuna. Fail to follow through on your commitments and it’s the fastest way to break trust.  Don’t say you will if you can’t (p. 215).  I would say you are safer to under promise and over deliver.
  13. Extend Trust

I appreciate Covey’s honest approach to sharing both public and personal stories and by including both positive and negative example of why trust matters.  As I read through this book I shared my readings with those I crossed paths.  While they often nodded and agreed that yes it made sense.  I think many people, including leaders often think we don’t need to work on trust we already have it.   As I reflect,  I wonder how often we as leaders (myself included) stop to ask our team members how they feel or do I make an assumption for them about trust levels?  In the end, leaders only have the opportunity to lead because of their followers.  It’s leaders interactions with people and their intent behind their interactions that strengthens or weakens the relationships.  As Covey asserted several times, trust “is the key leadership competency of the new global economy” (p.107).  Do you know where your trust account is at?

Leadership Connections: 

  • I appreciated the practical steps and strategies that Covey explained in his book.  Whether you are leading a huge team or looking to improve your self trust, this book is filled with useful strategies you can choose to apply in your own life.
  • It’s not a one time listen.  I first listened through audible and later purchased the book as a way to continue to go back and reference the key ideas.  I’ve found the supporting website helpful at reminding me of key aspects of the book along with online surveys and resources to support further development.
  • The more I learn about leadership the clearer it is that while the traits of a leader are an important part of leadership the theories which include the role of the follower are extremely significant.  True, healthy, effective leadership that produces tangible results will increase only when a leader truly makes an effort to lead his/her followers in a way that not only meets their needs but inspires them to commit to higher levels of engagement.  Leadership is a two way street and we are all on it together.

Covey, S. M. (2006). The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything. New York: Free Press.

Speed of Trust Additional Resources: